For me, February 14th now holds great significance. One year ago, I decorated the most unique valentine I have ever made and gave it to someone I barely knew, but had chosen to trust with my body and my life. It was just over 365 days ago that I had the heinous C word cut from my body, precisely and adequately making me officially CANCER FREE. This was cause for celebration! And celebrate we did! I bought small lobster tails for the few in our family that would really savor the treat and two big steaks to share for the others. I got strawberries and dipped them in dark chocolate and made really yummy stir fried beans and veggies. We even had sparkling cider and my favorite white wine. It was a great meal to celebrate February 14th, my first cancer free birthday!
I have been told that with the passing of each birthday it gets a little easier. The nagging reminders become a little less ominous as you purpose to enjoy each day and mark those miles stones with celebration. I will look forward to that for sure.
I had the occasion this last weekend to join with hundreds of others to celebrate. We weren't gathered to recognize another birthday, rather we were gathered to honor and remember a life well spent. I attended the memorial for Julia Pohlman, a friend and fallen fighter. I was so moved by the attitude of her memorial. Her husband participated as well as a few of her children. Family member after family member shared of the rock solid faith of this courageous woman. And it was evidenced again in talking with her oldest son and her husband. While they were certainly experiencing a loss of indescribable proportion, they were taking the opportunity to shout out the name that is above all names and the reason for their hope... Jesus! I sat through the service there unsure what emotions I would be feeling and realized that I was deeply inspired by the life she lived and encouraged to be so bold. It wasn't a "sad" time. It was a time to remember and reflect, but it was also a time to be challenged to make my life intentional and purposeful.
None of us knows the number of days or years we are to be given. We could get in a random car accident tomorrow or we might live to see 95. I realize as I face this life threatening illness called breast cancer, I have felt much more outward focused than I have in the past. I feel challenged to live a life that is less about me and more about serving others. In the end that is the legacy that I want to leave behind.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!